NAACP Applauds Federal Court Decision To Uphold Voting By Provisional Ballots In Michigan

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) landed a victory when the Federal Court ruled that individuals have the right to cast provisional ballots in Michigan for federal elections when voter qualifications are challenged at the polling place.

Kweisi Mfume, NAACP President and CEO said, "The problems in the 2000 election clearly had a disproportionate impact on voters and the Presidential election. The NAACP is pleased with the decision in Michigan and remains committed in the fight to prevent future disenfranchisement of eligible voters nationwide."

The Michigan case is supported by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) which serves as a national clearinghouse and resources for the compilation of information and procedures with respect to the administration of Federal elections. This decision will prevent thousands of eligible voters from being unlawfully disenfranchised in violation of their Constitutional and Michigan law rights.

The Michigan State Conference of NAACP Branches filed the injunction after a directive issued by the Michigan Director of Elections instructed county elected officials not to count any provisional ballots, under any circumstances. Partners in filing the injunction were The Association of Community Organizations For Reform Now (ACORN) and Project Vote.

The case calls attention to the National Committee on Election Reform study regarding the 2000 presidential election where thousands of eligible voters were not permitted to vote due to improper local election laws. The study concluded that approximately half of those votes could have been saved through the use of provisional ballots.

Federal District Judge David Lawson said, "Public interest is noted as served when citizens can look at the election process with confidence that the process insures that all votes cast by qualified people are counted."

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